INDIA – India’s Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has announced that India has entered into agreements for mutual recognition of vaccination certificates with as many as 96 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and several EU members, to ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers.

At present, 96 countries have agreed to mutual recognition of vaccination certificates and also those who recognize Indian vaccination certificates of travelers fully vaccinated with Covishield/WHO approved/nationally approved Covid vaccines,” Mandaviya stated.

The move will ease travel for those vaccinated with Indian-manufactured Covishield and Covaxin.

However, because the agreements are subject to domestic regulations of partner countries, this may not automatically result in approval for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which received WHO’s emergency use nod last week.

While some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Switzerland, have agreed to accept WHO-approved vaccines, others, such as Canada, have their own processes in place for vaccine approval.

Canada, on the other hand, has sought an application from Covaxin, and stated that the vaccine maker Bharat Biotech must submit an application with all data and evidence related to the clinical trials.

Additionally, Covishield, an Astra Zeneca Covid vaccine manufactured in India, was approved by the WHO in February of this year and is now recognized in over 60 countries.

Some o f the countries in the pact include US, the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Bangladesh, Mali, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Angola, Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Hungary, Serbia, Poland, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Finland, Estonia, Romania, Moldova, Albania, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Austria, Montenegro, and Iceland.

As a result, people traveling from these countries are granted certain exemptions, as stated in the Union Health Ministry’s guidelines on international arrivals, which were issued on October 20, 2021.

The international travel vaccination certificate, which is required for international travel, can also be downloaded from the CoWIN portal, according to the ministry.

Germany, the other country with which mutual recognition has been reached, requires travelers vaccinated with Covishield to have their vaccination certification with their passport numbers and date of birth, as an Aadhaar number is insufficient.

Negative PCR results

Persons who have been vaccinated with Covaxin or any other vaccine that has not yet been approved by the Paul Ehrlich Institute (a branch of the German Federal Ministry of Health) must bring a negative PCR test report that is no more than 72 hours old with them when entering Germany.

In the case of indirect flights to countries that have authorized Covaxin but are not covered by India’s air bubble pact, the guidelines and requirements of the layover are determined by the country’s Covid-19 restrictions.

India’s government is continuing to communicate with more countries so that beneficiaries of the “largest Covid vaccination program in the world” are accepted and recognized, facilitating travel for education, business, and tourism.

The Ministry of Health along with the Ministry of External Affairs is in continuous communication with all countries for mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, and WHO and nationally approved vaccines to facilitate hassle-free international travel across countries,” Mansukh Mandaviya minister said.

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